I remember clearly the moment I knew I would never be able to vote for the Labour party again. It was soon after Gordon Brown became the Prime Minister. He made a speech stating that he would no longer introduce a referendum about the UK leaving the EU. He made liars of the Labour party who had promised this referendum and he set me to oppose Labour implacably in the future.

It is true that the party had probably done more damaging things in the previous decade. The catastrophic removal of any controls on immigration and the reckless overspending led directly to the enormous social and economic challenges we face today.

Advertisements
Advertisements

But the removal of the referendum was personal, it disenfranchised me. I felt keenly what women must have felt a century ago, a feeling that led to the Suffragette movement and the change of the world.

Nigel Farage read that same feeling in millions of ordinary people and to his eternal credit, fought cleverly and tirelessly until that referendum was granted. He identified a common cause for outrage and that eventually led to the largest vote in this country's history in favour of leaving the much-loathed EU.

Now in his party, a leadership election is on the agenda and coming at the end of this week. UKIP is in a poor position nationally right now, fifteen months after the historic vote, they are seen by some as irrelevant and by others, including myself, as in danger of splitting the right-wing vote and allowing in the insanity of Corbyn and the lunatic left.

Marmite Anne Marie

All the candidates are largely unknown to the general public, well, all, that is except one.

Advertisements

Anne Marie Waters is the exception and she is the very definition of Marmite. People love her or hate her. Most of this stems from her self-confessed, overriding dislike of Islam, she founded Sharia Watch in the UK. A campaign was launched within UKIP to ban her from standing in the election. Many party members are nervous that in the politically correct environment of the UK today she will lose them even more votes. They may be right. She has stated that she believes Islam is an evil ideology and will not temper that view, though many have tried to emotionally and even physically threaten her away from voicing that opinion. If you doubt that have a quick glance at Twitter.

But love her or loathe her Anne Maria is a brave woman, who believes what she says. More importantly, she has identified something Mr Farage did. Millions of British people are feeling disenfranchised. They see many troubling things within Islam both in this country and abroad and cannot understand why they are accepted.

Advertisements

They are then silenced by the powers that be from asking serious questions, or given platitudes that are clearly nonsense, for example, David Cameron or Theresa May stating what is and is not the true teaching of the Koran, when such issues have been debated by scholars for eight hundred years. People who question are called racist, which does not even make sense as up until a few decades ago Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis were all of the Indian race.

The issues that need answering

What things may you ask? What issues trouble ordinary religious or non-religious people about Islam? It's a long list but I will highlight some of the most glaring points:

Why is the mutilation of the genitals of young girls required in Muslim majority countries and practised in this country without vigorous prosecution? Why are female children married at horrendously young ages and honour killings still prevalent? Why are women considered the property of men and required to cover their faces and in majority Muslim countries punished if they are violated? Why is there such fanatical, often violent intolerance of gay and transgender people? In all the above cases why are the usual feminist and pro-gay groups silent? Why are animals slaughtered without being properly stunned and why are the UK government allowing this practice to grow without detailed examination in Parliament? Why are women on trial for terrorism allowed to wear veils (otherwise known as masks) in court? Why have many thousands of vulnerable white girls been targeted by Muslim gangs right across the country and why if priests who abuse children are always named as Catholic are the left wing media so reluctant to name the one characteristic that links these gang members?

The list is almost endless and it is fanned by the jihadists who commit unspeakable nihilistic acts that would shame animals, in the name of Islam across the world. There may be genuine answers to some of these difficult questions but it seems as if the agreed tactics are to be suppression, not discussion. It won't work!

The genie is out of the bottle

Anne Marie Waters will not be bullied into stopping asking these questions and ever more people are following her lead. It is ironic that many of the people who most fear the message she is giving out are the ones who are ensuring it reaches an ever wider audience and not only an extreme right-wing audience, by trying to silence and condemn. When Nigel Farage began his campaign he was dismissed as a nutcase and extremist because he demanded we confront the wrongs imposed by the EU. It turned out he was voicing some of the most important feelings of seventeen million people.

Anne Marie may win, I think she has a good chance because the others seem to believe in nothing too strongly anyway. But if she wins or if she loses, the burning issues that Islam must answer will not be silenced and #Islamaphobia is not a magic word that takes away any need for accountability.